About a month ago, when our little miss was three months old, we flew across this beautiful country to introduce her to family in California.
Family was a little apprehensive about us taking such a big trip, but we knew with the right preparation we’d all be OK and we were. We even survived an overnight weather delay and re-routing. Here’s a few things that helped us along the way. (Please note, The Bean is not mobile, so we had less entertaining and distracting to do to keep her in her seat.)
Check the airlines carryon policy. We flew US Airways which allows passengers one carry on and one personal item. We found a few ways to bring a bit extra though, and it worked out great.
Lap infants up to 2-years-old can “bring” either a car seat or a stroller. This is checked at the gate for no extra cost. Since we were renting a car in California, we chose to bring her car seat and packed our baby carrier to use once we arrived.
Passengers are also allowed to carry on bring an additional bag if it is a “medical device.” So, we stashed my breast pump in another bag, and packed the pockets with other small items. Note: the airline website did say that the bag can only contain the medical device, so make sure if you’re packing other items with it, they’re at least semi-related.
I used small ziplock bags to store baby’s outfits. It made it really easy to grab one and know it had everything — socks, pants and a shirt. Then, when the clothes were dirty, I could just store them in the bag until we got home.
Our stuff went in backpacks – they fit in the overhead bins, distribute weight well and leave your hands free.
FAA regulations allow you to bring on a “reasonable amount” of breast milk or liquid formula. It does not have to be in containers less than three ounces. I brought about eight ounces of breast milk to give her on the plane and it was definitely fine, they just tested it before letting me through. I’m sure it would be the same for formula.
You do not need to bring identification for the baby, but he or she will receive a boarding pass which you’ll need to get through security. After that, you don’t have to show it again.
One of us carried The Bug through security and they just sort of glanced her over and did not send us through the body scanner. However, if you are carrying your baby in a sling or carrier, you will have to remove your baby as you go through.
Nurse or feed on the way up or down. If baby is sleeping, either wake him or her up, or pop in a pacifier. We fed The Bug each time we took off and landed and she never made a peep. At one point she got a little fussy and since my ears were popping, I knew hers were too so I just quickly fed her and that took care of it.
Passengers seemed more than OK to sit next to a baby. People were really understanding and we even had one guy change seats with my husband so we could all sit together.
You do have to remove your baby from a carrier during take off, but he or she can go right back in as soon as the plane reaches 10,000 feet.
She pretty much slept the entire way, but when she was awake, we would walk the aisle with her, bounce her on our laps or give her a soft toy to hold and look at. When all else fails, pull out the ‘ole camera phone and take a million selfies – babies love looking at themselves and the screen!
So that’s about it, don’t be afraid! And, if you’ve traveled with a little one, leave some of your tips here too – the more we all know, the better.